Recipe Shed: Chutneys and Preserves

There's a lingering aroma in this house, and it's permeating through the cables tethering us to the outer world, finding it's way through the timeline of many a twit and combining with other bloggers' fragrances.

No, it's not the latest parfum. It's a far more consuming smell than that.


Of course, there are the variants: red wine, white wine, balsamic, malt and pickling, but they all have the one purpose. To preserve our chosen fruit or vegetable, creating a mouth-watering chutney that needs to be given time to mature and reach its full-bodied flavour.

I've been like a woman possessed recently. Never having made a chutney before, I've been having a go at a few different types, experimenting with and altering recipes that I've found. Noting changes down in my recipe folder, splashing it with spices and caramelised onions for that added authenticity.

But I'm not the only one. My timeline (and inbox) is full of others who've been taken with the preserving passion, and so I said to Reluctant Housedad last week that he ought to do it as a theme one week for his successful Recipe Shed linky. After the tumbleweed had finally settled, he kindly told me that it wasn't 'his bag' (because we are in the '70s) and offered for me to host the Recipe Shed this week while he visits family for half-term. I jumped at the chance!

So here you have it, for one week only:

TheBoyandMe hosts the Recipe Shed!

Caramelised Red Onion Chutney


  • 8 red onions
  • 1 red chilli
  • 25ml olive oil
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 150ml balsamic vinegar
  • 150ml red wine vinegar

1. Cut the onion and chilli into short thin slivers and put into a heavy pan with the oil. Cook gently over a low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Once the onions are dark and sticky, add the sugar and vinegars. Cook on a high heat until bubbling (usually about 30 minutes), then turn the gas down to simmering for a further hour. It will be ready when drawing a wooden spoon through the mixtures leaves a channel behind that doesn't immediately fill with liquid or juices.

3. Immediately, spoon the chutney into sterilised jars, filling almost to the top of the jar.

4. While still piping hot, press a wax disc down on the mixture (wax side down) ensuring that it has been pushed against it fully with no air bubbles. Wet a cellophane circle (especially for preserving) on one side and place over the hot jar, damp side up. Pull it tight and use a tight elastic band around the neck. As the mixture cools, the damp cellophane will be pulled even more taut making it airtight and preventing the nasty bacteria from multiplying. Store for 2-3 months to allow the chutney to mature.

Or if you have some spare that doesn't fit into the bottles, spread it on cream crackers with some mature cheddar and enjoy as a late-night snack.

I've been making quite a few batches of different flavoured chutneys recently, with the intention of giving them for Christmas presents. I've bought some little wooden tags from ebay and am using them to label.

I'd be happy with that, wouldn't you?

Both Reluctant Housedad and I would love it if you would link up to our Chutneys and Preserves linky using the linky tools below. With his permission, I've adapted the code for the badge for this week only so that when it's added to your post, it comes back to this main page.

Next week, he's reclaiming his Recipe Shed where the theme will be Vegetarian in honour of me (I like to think!).

Recipe Shed

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  1. says

    When I said chutneys weren't my bag, I have to confess I had no idea how uncomplicated they were until I read your recipe. It sounds brilliant. I bet this is fantastic with a chuink of the Extra Tasty Lancashire Cheese I've bought on my travels. Many thanks for hosting this week. Really appreciate it. And as a 'reward' next week's Recipe Shed will be VEGETARIAN (yes, I know, I'm too kind :)

  2. says

    This recipe looks yummy… but what I am really drawn to is those lovely star tags (ours are usually made with pictures of the boys but they are cool.

    I think I will just have to add this to my list of Christmas goodies to make

  3. tinuke says

    OOh that looks yummy. I vowed to make these last year and didnt! But think I'll buy some jam jars and have a go this time round!


  4. Notmyyearoff says

    Ooh that looks very doable, I thought it would have a million ingredients. I might even have a go! Those jars look very pretty too'

  5. says

    your chutney looks divine with all your fancy raffia & labelling! I so wish I had neat writing like yours to do my labels *sighs*
    Have linked up now

  6. KatieB says

    I don't think I've ever tried chutney before but I think I'll give it a crack, looks yummy and those jars look proper cute, I'd be very happy with one as a Christmas present! :0)

  7. says

    I made Carrot, Parsnip and Apple chutney last week. It was very vinegary when it was ready so I think it will need to mellow for a couple of months. I'm going to give it as Christmas presents too, I need to find some labelling inspiration.

  8. Emily (@amummytoo) says

    I'm definitely going to try this. My grandad used to make chutney with my mum and I know what you mean ab

    • Emily (@amummytoo) says

      About the smell. I swear even if they'd cooked it days before, if I came round I'd leave smelling of vinegar!


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